Hearing aids are an investment in your hearing health, but the hefty price tag might not be in your budget. Traditional in-office hearing aids may come at a considerable cost, with some brands charging up to $4,000 per device. To expand consumer access to hearing aids and improve affordability, the FDA is proposing a new category of over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids.
This proposed rule to establish OTC hearing aids would generate potential cost savings for consumers with perceived mild to moderate hearing loss. OTC hearing aids would not be bundled with professional services and not require professional advice, fitting, adjustment, or maintenance.1 Keep in mind that the creation of a new over-the-counter hearing aid category hasn’t been finalized. The SeniorLiving.org team of experts will continue to update our OTC analysis as the FDA releases it.
The good news is there’s no need to wait until the FDA finalizes its OTC hearing aid regulatory requirements! There are currently over-the-counter hearing enhancement devices (not hearing aids) available, along with FDA-registered online hearing aids that can be purchased from the comfort of your home. Unlike over-the-counter hearing aids, online hearing aids include advanced features and support from a dedicated hearing care team. And the affordable price point of online hearing aids makes it possible for older adults with limited income to properly care for their hearing. Let’s dive into which OTC hearing enhancement devices and online hearing aids surpassed the competition.
The Apple AirPod Pro costs $249 per pair or $41.50 per month for six months. Since you can use AirPod Pros as earbuds to listen to music and other audio, stream calls, and enhance hearing, we think these hybrid devices are worth the price tag.
These over-the-counter earbuds come with impressive multifunctionality, advanced tech, and comprehensive accessibility features. The integration with other Apple products makes this a solid choice for individuals with multiple Apple devices. However, if you’re planning on using your AirPods for continuous hearing enhancement, the battery life may be lacking. With a max of 4.5 hours of listening time with a single charge, your AirPods may leave you hanging.
Pro Tip: Follow our step-by-step guide to learn how to use Apple AirPods like hearing aids.
Jabra does not provide pricing on their website for the Enhance Plus series. From our research, we estimate that these devices cost $799. For more information, contact a certified Jabra Enhance center.
Jabra furnishes a high-tech earbud with multiple hearing enhancement features. Not only can you stream music and chat with the grandkids, you can also customize the device for your hearing challenges. If you want to compare Apple AirPods to Jabra Enhance Plus earbuds, the biggest standout is Jabra’s dedicated app for hearing-related adjustments. As with Apple AirPod Pro, Jabra’s wireless earbuds won’t make it all day. The Enhance Plus lasts up to 10 hours on a single charge, so these serve as situational aids.
Lucid Audio’s pricing ranges from $79.95 for one PSAP to $299.95 per pair, making them one of the most affordable opinions on our list.
If you struggle to hear the television, conversations, or music, Lucid Audio’s PSAPs may boost the sounds you want to hear. However, Lucid Audio’s products don’t come close to an online or prescription-based hearing aid. If your hearing needs are simply to increase volume, PSAPs may be a budget-friendly option to explore.
Britzgo earned our most affordable over-the-counter hearing enhancer as pricing ranges from $49.50 to $159.99 per amplifier. Just keep in mind: The features for Britzgo devices match the price tag. You won’t find any extra bells and whistles here, which is best for those who just want a simple solution to enhance hearing.
With sleek, modern styles, Britzgo PSAPs have the look of a hearing aid but lack the advanced features. This brand may be a promising choice for sound enhancement for those on a tight budget.
Lively’s hearing aid prices range from $1,195 to $1,995 per pair. While these aren’t the cheapest devices on our list, the prices are less expensive than other premium brands like Phonak and ReSound. Plus, Lively offers affordable monthly financing options starting as low as $39 per month.
Overall, Lively offers high-tech hearing aids with all of the essential features like Bluetooth connectivity, noise-canceling technology, tinnitus management, and a mobile app for easy adjustments. Every pair of Lively hearing aids comes with a three-year warranty and three years of follow-up care, so you can easily chat with a doctor and make remote adjustments from the comfort of your own home. With a 100-day risk-free trial, Lively makes it easy to take their devices for a test drive. Visit our Lively hearing aid review to learn more.
Pro Tip: If you’re one of the 60 million Americans suffering from tinnitus,3 Lively has you covered! Lively hearing aids include personalized tinnitus management and a Tinnitus Sound Generator, making it a solid choice for our best hearing aids for tinnitus list.
MDHearing’s pricing is refreshingly transparent! MDHearing’s prices range from $399.99 to $799.99 for a single hearing aid. Sales advertised on the MDHearingAid website often bring the price of the pair down to that of a single hearing aid, saving you hundreds of dollars.
With MDHearing, you get high-quality hearing aids at a fraction of the cost of hearing aids purchased in-office. Bonus points go to MDHearing for offering models with long battery life. MDHearing’s team of hearing instrument specialists guides you through the process of setting up and customizing your hearing aid. Plus, every hearing aid has free shipping and a 45-day trial, so there’s no risk in seeing if they’ll meet your needs. To learn more about this company, read our MDHearing review.
Pro Tip: Properly caring for your hearing aids is an important part of your hearing health. Check out our in-depth how to clean hearing aids guide for more details.
The cost of Eargo’s hearing aids ranges from $1,450 to $2,950. If you’re looking for a manufacturer with financing options, you’ll be pleased to know that Eargo offers financing terms for 12-24 months to make their hearing aids more affordable.
Hear better with Eargo’s discreet and comfortable CIC hearing aids. We’re impressed with Eargo’s best-in-class service. After purchasing your Eargo hearing aids over the phone or online, you’ll receive a personalized consultation from a licensed hearing professional via phone, text, email, or video chat. For a look at our experience with Eargo, check out our hands-on Eargo review.
Did You Know: Active military members and veterans are eligible for a 20 percent discount on the Eargo 6 model. If you or your loved one has served, take advantage of this great deal!
Lexie offers two ways to purchase their Lumen hearing aids. Buy a pair via a one-time purchase for $799 or through a monthly subscription priced at $49 for 24 months. The subscription option includes a protection plan and regular deliveries of accessories and batteries, which adds to the value.
Adults living an active lifestyle need a hearing aid that can keep up. The Lumen’s water-resistant technology earns high marks. And product support isn’t lacking as Lexie experts are available by video call, phone call, or chat. Their hearing library and how-to videos provide a wealth of information to guide you to use your hearing aids to their fullest potential. Head over to our Lexie hearing aid review for more details on the Lexie Lumen and its features.
Did You Know: Wondering if you’re wearing your hearing aids correctly? We have you covered with an in-depth look at how to properly put in and remove your hearing aids.
Otofonix’s wallet-friendly hearing aids made it onto our best cheap hearing aids list for a good reason! When comparing Otofonix devices and prices to leading prescription hearing aid providers, we found this company offers excellent value. Their most affordable model starts at $248 for a single aid, and their most expensive model caps out at $1,590 per pair. The price includes the hearing aid, charging accessories or batteries to get you started, and hearing aid accessories like cleaning supplies, a travel case, domes, and sound tubes.
Of the providers on this list, Otofonix gives seniors with mild to moderate hearing loss the most bang for their buck. Otofonix’s low prices, free shipping, financing plans, and complimentary accessories add up to big savings. These streamlined hearing aids are easy to operate, even if you’re not tech-savvy. Check out our hands-on review of Otofonix to learn more about this provider.
Pro Tip: Our hearing aid buying guide walks you through hearing tests, purchasing options, and how to fine-tune your hearing aids.
Our top four over-the-counter contenders for mild to moderate hearing loss were chosen with great consideration. We evaluated a variety of criteria, including cost, battery life, features, and warranty. While the products look like over-the-counter hearing aids, they’re technically electronic devices that offer a range of hearing enhancement features. These four devices stood out when compared to the FDA’s draft OTC hearing aid legislation.
Because OTC legislation is still being finalized, we also included a list of our top picks for FDA-approved hearing aids that can be purchased online. We evaluated various criteria, including functionality, battery life, remote care, warranty, and cost. These hearing aids will be more affordable than traditional hearing aids and come with support from audiologists. All of the devices on our list will only be suitable for mild to moderate hearing loss.
Hearing aids can make a world of difference in the quality of life for people with hearing loss. Untreated hearing loss can lead to isolation, and it has been associated with serious conditions such as depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, dementia, reduced mobility, and falls.5 Unfortunately, conventional hearing aids can be very costly, and not everyone can afford the doctor visit, let alone the devices. This is where the FDA’s proposed over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids may come into play. OTC hearing aids will be for individuals aged 18 and over who suffer from mild to moderate hearing loss. These hearing aids won’t require a hearing exam, an audiologist’s review, or approval from a medical practitioner. Reduced costs are anticipated as OTC hearing aids will be stand-alone and won’t come with additional services or support.
In the video below, Jeff Hoyt, Editor-in-Chief of SeniorLiving.org, speaks with audiologist Brad Ingrao about the FDA’s proposed over-the-counter hearing aid act and how it could help millions of Americans.
A goal of the FDA’s proposed over-the-counter hearing aid category is to make hearing aids more accessible and affordable. However, there are a few important considerations to be aware of, as you would most likely be responsible for:
In comparison, online hearing aids are registered with the FDA. Even though you don’t require a visit to the doctor or a prescription to purchase online hearing aids, these aids are dispensed through audiologists. When purchasing online hearing aids, you’re not just receiving a hearing aid. You’ll receive services like:
Still unsure whether over-the-counter hearing aids for mild to moderate hearing loss will be right for you? Let’s take a moment to weigh the potential pros and cons based on what the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has released to date.
If the FDA’s new hearing aid category is approved, purchasing an OTC hearing aid may be as simple as stopping by your local drugstore. However, shopping can be a bit tricky if you don’t already know what to look for. To help you out, we’ve put together an explanation of a few important criteria to consider as you evaluate over-the-counter, online, and prescription hearing aid options.
Whether you’d prefer a traditional battery-powered hearing aid or a rechargeable model, your hearing aid is only as good as its battery life. It’s essential to find out how long your hearing aid will last. No one wants their hearing aid to lose power in the middle of a conversation!
Small but mighty, hearing aids are built with tiny electrical parts. So, what happens if your hearing aids stop working? A solid warranty ensures that the manufacturer can repair or replace your hearing aid at no additional cost within a specific time frame.
You’ll likely spend many hours wearing your hearing aids, so choose a lightweight device for optimal comfort. It’s also critical to consider how your hearing aids will fit, feel, and look. Are you in the market for a discreet, practically invisible hearing aid, or would you rather have one that is larger but easier to operate? Consider these questions as you explore your options.
Not all over-the-counter hearing aids offer complete volume control. This key feature allows you to “tune in” the volume to fit your situation (e.g., louder in noisy environments, softer in quiet environments).
Inside Tip: Overwhelmed at the number of online and medical-grade hearing aids to choose from? Check out our best hearing aids list for the inside scoop on top-ranked hearing aids and their standout features.
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Ruth Reisman, AuD MBA, is a licensed audiologist and hearing aid dispenser in New York state and is certified by the American Speech and Hearing Association. After serving as an audiologist in the New York downstate hospital system, Dr. Reisman led the… Learn More About Dr. Ruth Reisman
Federal Register. (2021). Medical Devices; Ear, Nose, and Throat Devices; Establishing Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids.
U.S. Food & Drug Administration. (2021). Hearing Aids and Personal Sound Amplification Products: What to Know.
Harvard Health Publishing. (2020). Tinnitus: Ringing in the ears and what to do about it.
Otofonix. (2022). Compare Hearing Aids.
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. (2021). Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids – Who are OTC hearing aids for?